Creating. Healing. Launching.


Art Therapist Gets a HUG to Give Help Others

“Art is everywhere. And, it is therapeutic – healing us all from within.” – Ingrid Butler, Art Therapist

Ingrid Butler is a Charlotte-based art therapist. She’s also the March 2022 recipient of a Bear HUG – a $1,000 microgrant from Charlotte Is Creative powered by the LendingTree Foundation. She earned the grant for her work developing art therapy sessions for 30 college students. 

Butler served as a nurse for over 26 years, working with moms and babies with substance abuse issues. 

She noticed that drug-dependent moms would often have lots of fear, guilt and anxiety which would make them want to use more. Having personally experienced the stress-relieving power of painting in her own life, Butler began researching the effects of art on stress, which eventually led her to become a Certified Therapeutic Art Coach.

Art therapy can be effective for people who prefer a less clinical approach to stress management, or who want to supplement other treatments. 

“My work … allows (me) to guide those needing to release negative emotions through art with no negative side effects and begin a self-healing process,” said Butler. 

“Colors are used to represent emotions,” she said. and People can “then pour them out onto a canvas, creating a beautiful artwork that will retrain the brain to have a new association to the situation over time just by viewing the art they created.”

A HUG That Helps Others

The Bear HUG has empowered Butler to purchase supplies for the art class  she teaches every week at Space 212 (a multi-use arts facility in the University area where she is a part-owner). It will also partially paypay a summer intern. 

As an active member of Charlotte’s creative community, Butler loves the community’s diversity and feels privileged to have met so many artists from so many different ethnicities and backgrounds. 

“They have a completely different perspective than I do,” said Butler. 

The work she is enabling at Space 212 is helping to fuel this community-wide energy. She and her partners have a goal of providing opportunities for young, creative entrepreneurs working in art, music, fashion and movement (yoga, fitness and dance) to create their visions and launch their brands.

Beyond her own business, Butler’s community work keeps her  busy; she’s currently producing a fashion show, painting furniture and walls and writing a blog.

Creating a Home for Creatives

Stop into Space 212 and you’ll see a venue adorned with rotating artwork by Butler, Justin Ellis, Wescott Park, J.Reid, Dreamy and more. 

Musicians will find a music studio (Inde Space Studios) run by sound engineer and DJ Dru Billions. You’ll encounter drum circles, meditation sessions, fitness classes and an increasingly diverse array of creative offerings destined to create one of the best vibes in Charlotte. 

Be sure to check out events like their Thursday evening Pour Decisions paint parties, “First Friday” series with interactive art experiences or Sunday Sound Labs with karaoke.

It’s the community she’s helping to build that fuel’s Butler’s passion.

“[We] all love to create,” she said. “In that way, we feel connected. And, I love to see them all succeed.”